tv [untitled] February 22, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
being here this morning. it is a joy for me to be here with you today at yellow cab to celebrate an accomplishment that i think the city will be proud of. i have been this city administrator for quite a number of years. i really enjoyed hearing the goals that then mayor gavin newsom had announced in so many areas. i have been very excited. in fact, when gavin was mayor, and these were the things that i really enjoyed inheriting from you. it was what warren hellman always said. even when you are doing the hardest thing possible, you have to have fun. i think it is fun when you can accomplish environmental goals for the city. there are so many generations ahead of us that we know will enjoy this. they will enjoy that cleaner air that we have promised generations to come. we are not going to be the same
as many other industrialized cities, creating emission levels to the point that people get sick. we have the promise that with the strong environmental goals that we set out, that we can have fun accomplishing them. just a minute ago, i had a chance to tell gavin, thank you for showing such great leadership. we celebrated gay marriage. i can personally thank him for that wonderful leadership that led to an historic decision by the ninth circuit yesterday. we go back to 2008, where mayor gavin newsom had led the effort with the board of supervisors to establish a difficult goal of reducing gas emissions, carbon emissions from our taxis, in
2008. at the time, the ordinance was crafted with support from the board. they set out a per vehicle reduction of about 20% of the missions. everybody said at that time, that is a strong goal, but it might not be attainable. there are two numbers that we want to announce today. not only have we met that goal with the cooperation of so many parties that we are here to celebrate with, but we have exceeded that 20% goal. we now have a 49% per vehicle reduction. with an increase in taxicabs. [applause] that is what makes this fun. you set a goal that people say you cannot do. there were a lot of goals that people said could not be done.
now, with the cooperation of taxicab companies, the taxicab commission, sfmta, with the grants that had been derived through the leadership of our department of environment, working with our bay area quality care management district, the county transportation authority, we found that magic that we often wish we would have. that has resulted in a complete taxi fleet that is 92% alternative fuel. and that while they have grown. this is not a reduction in the fleet. i think they have actually doubled the number of taxis, but 92% of them are running on alternative fuel. that means a tremendous reduction in our carbon emissions.
that 49% that has been reached per vehicle essentially translates into 35,000 metric tons annually of emissions that are no longer limited by our taxi fleet. it is equivalent to taking out 690 cars on an annual basis. while we accomplish those very nice numbers, there is an economic reality to this. they reduce our cost by $11 million annually. they have this alternative fuel vehicles. they save an inordinate amount of money. even the bricks that have to replace. when they are going of these hills, all the time, on a crown
victoria, you are replacing those breaks every one or two months because of its use. with the alternative vehicle, it is about eight months. they are sitting in that respect. it is smarter, accomplishing more than a set out to do, because of the vision we had and the collaboration that has gone on, finding incentives that our community have combined to work in collaboration not only with companies but to also credit the drivers. it had been so many years that this ordinance was passed to change the culture. now that partnership is deep, economic, and also, will lead
to a generation that will appreciate what we have done. wonderful things to accomplish. i want to bank paul gillespie and what he and mayor newsom did to set this vision out for us with our board of supervisors. we can be proud that not only did we come below those emissions, we exceeded it while the taxi fleet increased. this is what makes it fun to be mayor. once in awhile, we can have fun where we really accomplish stop where we get to the economy, all those things that we want to do. it is about collaboration. it is the right incentive. it is not government telling the taxi fleet but they have to do. it is inviting them in to give
us their ideas and then incentivizing that road to success. that is what i want to celebrate today. thank you for coming in and sharing that celebration. [applause] thank you, mayor lee. this next guest is someone i have interviewed many times on the subject when he was mayor of san francisco. he is very passionate about it. today might be another accomplishment that he may be loud report to being at. please welcome lieutenant governor gavin newsom. >> thank you. [applause] nice to be back. wonderful to see you all. thank you, mayor lee, for your stewardship of this program. president chuiu, everyone here gathered for this milestone. i had the unenviable task of
going back to read some of the cliffs that were said to me after we made this announcement, and it was remarkable the condemnation we received. i am glad i never read any of that. maybe i would have been dissuaded. now we have 92% of taxicabs alternative fuel, leading the nation, proven what can be done. there is an old adage. once a mind is stretched, it never goes back to its original form. you have to show people evidence, show people it is possible. you appreciate it more when you are no longer mayor, i appreciate -- i assure you. the distinction between states as laboratories for democracies, as well as cities for laboratories of innovation. trying to get them out in a small way and then scaling across different municipalities. that is the goal here.
this is a win-win for everybody. the cab drivers themselves are beneficiaries of lower gas costs, cab companies are the beneficiaries of lower maintenance, and the citizens are the beneficiaries of dramatic reductions in recent -- greenhouse gas emissions. i will close by thanking the person that began this. paul gillespie was printable in all of this. this initiative really goes back to 1997, when then mayor willie brown called for a big summit. just behind city hall, around the taxicab issues. i was invited, was the only one naive to show up. anyone who showed up, willie brown would anoint, without
asking interest. and today, i announce supervisor newsom is chair of the task force i have formed. it was a difficult day. paul and i were among the many never part of this. paul started talking about this green thing. i immediately jumped up, enthusiastic about it. i was the one with the ev from saturn. i thought it was the best idea i had heard. we created a new commission out of that task force that eventually went into the mta, and now at risk and is responsible for it. paul was responsible for that. he advanced this initiative and codified his passion. we have been celebrating his tenacity, resolve, constancy,
and faith in this project. paul, i want to thank you for your vision and not giving up on this. i know you have taken a lot of heat from your colleagues, others who were outraged. i want to just say, hat's off to you and the elected family of san francisco. finally, to mayor lee. my department meetings were never found. i have to acknowledge that. i would never acknowledge that as mayor. ed reed was always the first one to come around. i do not know what it is about cars, but we were kindred spirits, reducing the size, increasing the efficiency. i am glad to hear that you have found this fund.
thank you, mayor, for making me feel better about my role in this respect. [applause] >> our next guest has told everyone -- he still does not have a motor vehicle that he owns. i think that is still true, right? president of the board of supervisors, david chiu. [applause] >> good morning. so pleased to be part of an amount that will make other cities truly green with envy. i still do not own a car, i have to admit. i did bar my girlfriend's car because i had some trouble finding a cab in my neighborhood to get down here. all that being said, there are
so many folks we have to thank. mayor lee and his department heads who are here, the ta, but i want to thank the people in particular. first of all, someone who is not a bureaucrat or politician, but helped move forward a vision of the city, paul gillespie. we support you for your idea. and mr. lieutenant governor, it is great to see you back here in san francisco. thank you for working with my board colleagues and planting a goal that none of us, frankly, thought would be achieved. and i want to thank all of you from the taxicab industry. what was accomplished from this ordinance should be the model of how we promote future for rums, when we talk about the taxi world here. we had a hearing at the border supervisors about future reforms. we know there are many things we need to fix in the taxicab
world. i hope it is through a model of ideas from taxicab drivers, from the industry working with city officials, to make sure that we are leading the way when it comes to taxis. thank you so much for being here. [applause] >> our next speaker is the person everyone has been referencing, a former taxi cab driver, also the president of the taxicab commission. mr. paul gillespie. [applause] >> thank you, everyone, for being here, alleging the second- best thing we have done as the taxi commission. the first thing that we -- the first best thing that we did was hiring naomi kelly. i am glad she has a new position in san francisco. if any of you are here because
we -- you are upset about what we did and you want to bend, i suggest calling willie brown. he appointed me to the taxi commission. i also want to thank mayor newsom for the work that he did. if you want to thank someone for bringing someone like myself or naomi, you will want to thank mayor brown on that, too. people that know me know that i could go on for hours about this. i could talk about the collaboration that happened between the taxicab companies, the city, manufacturers. this would not have happened without john james, who was the liaison between the manufacturers, taxi industry. there were plenty of others who also helped. i had real help from lots of
people -- we would not be here without you former mayor newsom. your persistence and passion for this issue, i deeply feel that. there is not enough i could say about when you have done over the years. i hope this is just the first of many events we will have talked about making our fleet cleaner. we are about a third of the way there. we have a first generation, and we hope there will be another generation coming through. we hope to soon have zero commission taxis. i will just say one interesting thing about the taxi cab drivers. when we were looking for sponsors, we went to the fuel supplier for the taxicab industry. he said, you want me to contribute to this event? you have twice the number of vehicles but half the fuel.
i said, exactly, thank you. this is one of the great initiatives. it has not only cut greenhouse gas emissions in half in three years, but it has put thousands of dollars into the pockets of working class people who sometimes make a struggle -- struggle to make a living. what i also want to talk about briefly is carbon dioxide. a colorless, odorless gas. two numbers i want to talk about. 19.4, 393. a gallon of gasoline weighs 6 pounds, if you lifted up. if you burn it, you can produce 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. that blew my mind. i knew about oxidation and reduction reactions from high school chemistry, but when you have that knowledge, that opens up a world of understanding.
we were able to quantify greenhouse gas emissions in the taxi industry, which people were not doing. i want to thank all the people at the department of the environment, from the nrdc, that helped us on that. we figured out how to do it long before anybody was really measuring carbon. the second member i mentioned -- i gave a speech last year. it was 391. i went on a website last night and it was 393. that is parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. when we were all born, that number was in the low 300's. that number has been fluctuating between 100 and 300. before long, we will be passing
400 million. it is a sobering thought about what that means for our planet, but i am proud knowing that i did what i could to cut those emissions of carbon. i felt like we took action appropriately in response to the urgency of the problem. i want to thank everyone here today, the taxicab industry, everyone who supported this policy, all the way to making it a success. thank you very much. [applause] >> our next speaker arguably has one of the toughest jobs in san francisco, overseeing muni and the parking and traffic department. but will come and reiskin, director of the sfmta. -- let's welcome ed reiskin, director of the sfmta.
>> we are charged with implementing the city's transit first policy. in order for transit first to work in san francisco, we need excellent taxi service. as much as we would like to see you hot on muni, your bike, or what we need to go, sometimes you need a car. from a transportation perspective, the most efficient way for us to meet that need, one of them is through taxicabs. i think presidents chiu's experience this morning manifest that. with better service, his girlfriend can get rid of her car. to the extent we can meet that need in san francisco with cleaner vehicles, then we are achieving environmental goals as well. paul's reminder to us, with those sobering statistics, it is really important.
it is not just his use of oxidation reduction reaction, which is a phrase that you do not often hear in a press conference. those numbers are why a lot of us are doing the work we are doing. this is extremely important, not just to san francisco, but to our planet. i want to thank paul and our former mayor, lt. gov. gavin newsom, for your leadership, courage, and a word i have heard before, the audacity to put forward a program like this. i want to thank our current mayor, board president, city industry partners for demonstrating with strong leadership and collaboration among the public and private sectors, we can achieve goals in transportation, the environment, and this is an important message for us to send to the state and washington, d.c., that we can do so in ways
that are good for the economy. transportation, environmental, and economic goals are not anti pedicle. they can support each other. that is important for us to know. -- are not antithetical. it is a day that we should all be proud of what we are achieving. thank you very much. [applause] >> supervisor, does your girlfriend know that we are getting rid of her car soon? in san francisco, like other cities, they have a department of the environment. they do not have this in every city. san francisco is a forward- thinking city. with that, i want to bring up the director of the department, melanie nutter.
>> good morning. i am so pleased to be here today to celebrate this environmental milestone. as you have heard, we would not be here today without the broad coalition of support and the ongoing collaboration that came together around ensuring we could reduce carbon emissions from our taxi fleet coming here in san francisco. the san francisco department of the environment is proud to have been a partner in insuring san francisco's taxi fleet is the greenest in the nation. first, on the policy front, in 2007, 2008, our department staff work with the taxi commission and cab companies to create the green tax ordinance. this collabotion resulted in a performance standard, requiring taxi companies achieve over all the emission reductions each year without mandating specific models. as long as each company's fleet met the required performance
standard at an average level of greenhouse gas reductions every year, they could choose the mix of vehicles that best suits them. secondarily, regarding education, we created the grain taxi guide to help all tax to companies in the city to identify cars that they could buy that would meet the required averages. finally, we also used incentives. we were able to work with the air district as well as county transportation authority to seek secured grants to incentivize the purchase of hybrid vehicles by taxi companies in order to achieve the level of emission reductions that would meet the overall goal. as the lieutenant governor said, cities are the laboratory and innovation. this shows how other cities could bring their taxi fleets as well as to use this to reduce
carbon emissions. i first want to thank staff, particularly bob hagen, who has put in many hours of hard work to see this happen. i also wanted to congratulate paul gillespie and all the partners here today who helped to make this possible. we look forward to future collaboration that will have to maintain san francisco's label as the greatest city in america. [applause] >> the bay area air quality management district is in charge of making sure that we follow these regulations. >> as the executive director for the bay area air quality management district, it is my pleasure to recognize the city of san francisco, mayor lee, lt.
gov. newsom for their leadership, and demonstrating the fact that green has gas reductions can occur, they can occur in the economic climate we find ourselves in, and i want to thank and recognize them for their leadership, for creating the cleanest taxi fleet in the world. that is a phenomenal achievement. we have been proud of our partnership with the city. we provided half a million dollars to help purchase some of the taxis here today. we think this is just step one of a long process moving forward. again, i want to congratulate and thank leadership. i appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning. thank you. [applause] >> now, i would like to bring up mayor lee and lt. gov. knew some, and paul gillespie. there will be a presentation.
after that, we will go outside and do some things with the taxi cabs. >> who would have thought we would be saying thank-you four years ago? with that said, on behalf of all the tax to companies in san francisco, we want to thank lt. gov. gavin newsom and mayor lee for their generous support of the taxi industry, and your vision to not only make san francisco the best city in america, but the greenest. with that, lieutenant governor gavin newsom, thank you for your vision. we would like to present you with this plaque. [applause] mayor lee, we would also like to
thank you for your vision. we look for too many years working together. we would also like to present you with this plaque. [applause] >> we have new decals that will be on some of these taxi cabs. i am a hunter who has them. here they are. -- i am not sure who has them. the lieutenant governor, mayor, are going to come down and help us put these on some of the calves outside. -- cabs outside. >> right here? there you go. very good.